Intimate partner homicide

Securing women’s lives: Preventing intimate partner homicide
Investigators: Professor Jude McCulloch, Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, Professor Sandra Walklate

Project details: ARC project page

Project contacts: Professor Jude McCulloch and Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon

The project aims to develop a framework for a new systematic preventive approach to intimate partner homicide. Intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women worldwide and the leading cause of death amongst Australian women aged between 15 and 44. The project is reviewing a decade of intimate partner homicides in Australia where the offender was male, focusing on circumstances of the killing and interactions of victims with any services. This new knowledge is intended to inform and assist in developing a more risk sensitive preventive approach to intimate partner homicides in Australia and overseas, enhancing women’s security and preventing their deaths.

Recent Activity

Research and Publications

Towards a Global Femicide Index: Counting the Costs (Routledge, 2020)
By Sandra Walklate, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Jude McCulloch, JaneMaree Maher

Increasingly there is global attention on the prevalence of women’s deaths resulting from intimate partner violence. Campaigns such as ‘Counting Dead Women’ in Australia, the ‘Femicide Census’ in England, the Canadian Femicide Observatory, and the emergence of family violence death review teams globally, build on the work of agencies such as the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, highlighting the fatal consequences of intimate partner violence for women around the world.

This book considers the need for and the steps to be taken towards creating a meaningful framework for a global index of women’s deaths from intimate partner violence. While there are global indices for deaths that relate to public violence, such as terrorism, there is to date no systematic global count of killings of women by their intimate partners. It considers the possibilities and challenges that arise in counting intimate femicide. It argues that such an exercise needs to avoid narrow empiricism and instead be part of a broader feminist political project aimed at ending violence against women.

Counting the cost of intimate partner homicides in Australia. McCulloch, J., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Maher, JM. & Walklate, S. (2019). Monash Lens, 4 June.

Intimate Partner Violence, Risk and Security: Securing Women’s Lives in a Global World (Routledge, 2018)
Edited by Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Sandra Walklate, Jude McCulloch, JaneMaree Maher

This edited collection addresses intimate partner violence, risk and security as global issues. Although intimate partner violence, risk and security are intimately connected they are rarely considered in tandem in the context of global security. Yet, intimate partner violence causes widespread physical, sexual and/or psychological harm. It is the most common type of violence against women internationally and is estimated to affect 30 per cent of women worldwide. Intimate partner violence has received significant attention in recent years, animating political debate, policy and law reform as well as scholarly attention.

The collection emerged from an International Roundtable Workshop hosted by the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre at the Monash campus in Prato, Italy. The event brought together leading international scholars from United Kingdom, Europe, United States, North America, Australia and New Zealand to challenge the separation of the private terrorism of everyday life routinely experienced by women across the globe from public violence.

The contributions here urge us to think about perpetrators in more nuanced and sophisticated ways with chapters pointing to the structural and social factors that facilitate and sustain violence against women and IPV.

Finally, police are taking family violence as seriously as terrorism, McCulloch, J., Maher, J., Fitzgibbon, K. & Walklate, S. (2017). The Conversation, 19 December.


National Roundtable on Femicide Data Collection
Melbourne, Australia - August 2019

The Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre held a national roundtable on femicide data collection in August 2019. The roundtable was part of the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant - Securing Women's Lives: Preventing Intimate Partner Homicide. The roundtable brought together experts, practitioners and academics from around Australia including judicial officers, death review personnel, journalists, Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety, a Churchill Fellow researching death review processes internationally and academics researching intimate femicide and violence against women. Issues discuss included, femicide counts, access to data and the risks and opportunities of a live national count of femicides.

An Age newspaper article arising out of the roundtable covers some of these issue.

International Roundtable Workshop on Securing women’s lives: Preventing intimate partner homicide
Monash Prato, Italy - September 2017

Constructions of risk and understandings of security in responses to IPV was at the centre of a recent roundtable organised by MGFV project. As contemporary constructions of risk and security tend to accept or tolerate IPV, the roundtable formed to challenge the status quo understandings of risk and question how we can redefine and relocate the risk of IPV, and particularly the risk of IPH, as a critical site of national security and safety.

Bringing together scholars from across four continents, the workshop forms part of the ARC DP project Securing Women’s Lives.

Sparking discussions and feedback that were central to the workshop, attendees presented research from pre-drafted chapters. Led by Professor Jude McCulloch, Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Professor Sandra Walklate and Professor JaneMaree Maher, the workshop will result in a Routledge Edited Collection.

By adopting a gendered lens, the workshop and edited collection challenge the separation of the private terrorism of everyday life routinely experienced by women across the globe from public violence.

Contributions within the Edited Collection will question how a reconstruction of risk can be operationalised to better ensure the safety and security of women.

Here the law has been and continues to be a key site for reform and this Edited Collection will provide the opportunity to examine the extent to which current and proposed responses to IPV across multiple jurisdictions provide the necessary security for women to live free from intimate violence.

Related Research

The killing of women in Victoria: Examining risks of violence and interactions with services
Funded by:
The Victorian Women’s Trust Investigator: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon

This project examines the killing of women in Victoria over a ten year period. Using case analysis and interviews, the project will generate an in-depth understanding of the risks of violence and interactions with services common to cases of lethal violence against women in Victoria. The findings will provide an evidence base to illuminate women’s experiences of lethal violence and to inform support services, prevention initiatives and justice system responses in Victoria.